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These days, New York City College of Technology (City Tech) faculty and students are happy to oblige if anyone tells them to “get a life.”

That’s because several classes are involved with developing the College’s presence in Second Life (SL) (http://www.secondlife.com), a virtual digital world created by its more than nine million “residents,” where alter egos (avatars) they have constructed live, play and work in immersive environments -- artificial, interactive, computer-created scenes or “worlds” within which users can immerse themselves and interact with others.

For instance, through manipulating their avatars’ movements, students can walk around in, fly through and thoroughly explore such virtual environments as the Sistine Chapel, foreign cities, lecture halls and workplaces.

On “CityTech Island,” the college’s SL site, students from various academic disciplines not only observe, but also, along with their professors, help create that world, which challenges them to use and master 3-D modeling skills in some cases or script-writing skills in others.

“Some consider Second Life only a game,” says City Tech Entertainment Technology Professor David Smith, “but we see it as a huge outlet for creative activity, allowing students and faculty to work on projects as a team.” Smith introduced SL to the College and uses it in the Introduction to Interactive Technology, Design Process course and for his senior students’ final projects.

Professor Jenna Spevack (entertainment technology) and her Introduction to Media Design Process students planned, designed and developed the virtual “Brooklyn is Watching” Museum. It houses photos of artwork created by the Brooklyn is Watching Project, which invites interaction between the thriving art communities of Second Life and Williamsburg, Brooklyn (http://www.BrooklynIsWatching.com. Video Walk-thru: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCHY3N4OrCo).The project and museum will continue to evolve during the spring 2010 semester.

CityTech Island features a virtual laboratory where professor avatars lecture and conduct experiments. Biology students can take a special ride — inside a virtual cell. At the International Summer Simulation Multiconference, held in Istanbul, Smith, Barjis and Samarrai presented a research paper, “Modeling and Simulation of 3-D Virtual Cell as a Game,” to an audience of top simulation and modeling researchers.

City Tech is located at 300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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